Scientists in Scotland have developed a test that uses X-ray technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect coronavirus disease (Covid-19) within minutes.
While an RT-PCR test takes two hours to detect Covid-19, the test developed by scientists at University of the West of Scotland claims to deliver results in a few minutes with 98 per cent accuracy.
“The state-of-the-art technique utilizes X-ray technology, comparing scans to a database of around 3,000 images, belonging to patients with Covid-19, healthy individuals and people with viral pneumonia,” according to Medical News, an open-access medical and life sciences hub.
An AI process, known as deep convolutional neural network, then makes a diagnosis using an algorithm that analyses visual imagery.
Professor Naeem Ramzan, Director of the Affective and Human Computing for SMART Environments Research Centre at UWS, led the three-person team in the project, which also involved Gabriel Okolo and Dr Stamos Katsigiannis. Ramzan said the technology hopes to reduce the burden on the accident and emergency departments, particularly in countries where RT-PCR tests are not readily available.
“Several countries are unable to carry out large numbers of Covid tests because of limited diagnosis tools, but this technique utilises easily accessible technology to quickly detect the virus,” Ramzan said.
However, Covid-19 symptoms are not visible in X-rays during the early stages of infection, he added.